The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Spinning the News

It's official. In case you wondered what the "phony scandals" Obama was incensed about, here they are:

1. The attack on the Benghazi consulate on September 11, 2012.
2. The targeting by the IRS of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status.

Four Americans died in that attack on the Benghazi consulate.  Four The scandal is that it was blamed on a video, called a "protest that got out of hand", and pretty much ignored. The scandal includes the lack of any real attempt to support those under attack. It also includes one basic question: Where was Obama that night?

The second "phony scandal" is that targeting by the IRS of any group that had certain words in its name: "Tea Party", "patriot", and a couple of other innocuous words. The effect of the targeting was to keep these groups from raising money and being active in the run up to the 2012 presidential election.

Now that I think about, that was probably behind the dismissal of the Benghazi attack as a protest that went rogue. Nothing to see here, people... move along.

The targeting of those conservative groups was to impede political speech and reduce the impact of those groups on the 2012 election. The dismissal of the Benghazi attack was to divert attention from it during the election. Can't have something like that besmirch the administration with the president's re-election coming up.

What was interesting was Googling for "phony scandals" gives only one hit on the first page naming the mainstream media.  US News and World Report ran a story about Republicans' reaction to Obama calling these phony scandals. All the other hits on that page were conservative and right-wing blogs and web pages. You have to go to the second page to find NBC's focus on House Speaker John Boehner's reaction.

Oh, there is also a Huffington Post story on the first page but it is about Obama remaining mum about the two Democrats embroiled in sex-related scandals.

When I was growing up, the press, the "mainstream media" were called "the Fourth Estate" and were part of the checks and balances. They questioned the administration, they dug into things, they investigated, they exposed. Something changed somewhere along the way.

Yet, we have to credit CBS for asking Carney what scandals Obama was referring to.

Oh, by the way, the latest news is the reduction of the unemployment rate to 7.4% and the adding of 162,000 jobs last month. Of course, it doesn't make sense when you realize that it would actually take 200,000 new jobs to truly reduce the unemployment rate.  So why did the rate go down? Because more people stopped trying to find a job. Less people looking for jobs translates to a lower unemployment rate because of the way it is calculated.

In the United States, the unemployment rate is estimated by a household survey called the Current Population Survey, conducted monthly by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed persons by the size of the workforce and multiplying that number by 100, where an unemployed person is defined as a person not currently employed but actively seeking work. The size of the workforce is defined as those employed plus those unemployed.

We are being bamboozled, folks, by experts.

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